CARMEL VALLEY RESIDENCE, CARMEL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
(currently under construction)
I was part of a team of designers with Hart Howerton, a design firm in San Francisco, California. This is a large estate development. It includes the 13,000 square foot 5 bedroom main house,a guest house, caretaker's cottage, a barn and stable. The project included all the buildings and the landscaping for the 32 acre lot.
The design features a harmonious blend of Italian villa and California mission styles. The materials are local stone and large exposed wood beams, stucco walls and clay, barrel tile roof. The main house is composed of several wings and kept to one story. This is to reduce the visual impact of such a large structure on top of the hill. One design requirement for the development is to minimize how visible the house is from anywhere in the valley or on the opposite hillside. We used this restriction to advantage as you can walk out into the garden from any room. The only exception is at the garage. It is buried into the earth at the north side. We used the natural slope to gain access to this lower level without extensive earthwork. This location was driven by a program requirement that the garage be connected to the main house directly. We again found an advantage in this problem. The experience approaching the house is made more dramatic by the rising stair and dominating presence of the entry over the auto court made. Thus the house is close to the earth and "friendly" to the view-shed yet has a monumental presence at the entry that is not imposing but impressive.
I was responsible for the final construction documents for the main house and all the design and documentation for the other buildings.
All the buildings are sited to take advantage of the incredible vistas and passive energy advantages provided by this hill top location. Each one has good cross ventilation to take advantage of the prevailing ocean breeze for cooling in summer and has large glass facing south for heat gain in the winter. Large overhangs keep the south facing windows shaded so heat gain is reduced in the summer as well. Large doorways allow easy movement between inside and outside. The gardens are designed for unique experiences at each side of the house; a wide open vista of the Pacific Ocean to the west and to the east a private rose garden, outside the kitchen/breakfast nook and master suite, leading to a lovely grouping of live oaks preserved at the peak of the hill. This is a wonderful picnic area that surveys the entire property as well as the valley below.
The outbuildings are designed to evoke memories of the old west. The client loves horses and the romance of the "Old West". We were pleased to be able to create these small testimonials to the pioneering spirit she so admires. Using the vernacular forms found on ranches throughout the west we were able to create two wonderful guest houses. Each one takes advantage of its site both for energy performance and context. One is near the stable and barn and is complimentary to these structures in material and form with a large trellised porch overlooking the pasture and stable. The other is sited over a small rise away from the horses and main house. It faces the Pacific Ocean. The living room has a small dining area dominated by a large window and stone fireplace and a kitchenette in a custom cabinet designed to look similar to the "Hoosier" kitchen cabinets common to farm houses of the nineteenth century. A modern touch is a twelve foot wide sliding door that disappears into the stone fireplace. This opens the entire west wall of the living room to a large stone paved terrace that steps down into the native landscape and trails leading to the valley below.